Call me cynical, but I struggle to feel that our online property searching experience here in NZ is taking bold new leaps forward with the announcement of 'map based search' from Trade Me Property.
It also appears that I am not alone in this regard as my ever insightful news-service of Twitter clearly shows.
Now the cynicism may be from a 'geek' perspective as both Layton and Dave are certainly respected in the realm of NZ Geek Society. However as Dave rightly asked me "how many years ago did we (realestate.co.nz) do that?" - the answer is 6 years ago, January 2008 as this article I wrote on Unconditional testifies.
I certainly go along with Layton's view that the solution is well executed - something that Trade Me excels at - delivering a great user interface, great design and an intuitive feel.
However I keep coming back to this fact that this is not so much a step forward as a very long overdue catch up.
To be at least taking a step forward, Trade Me should have executed this service with the ability to "draw your own search area" as many real estate websites offer around the world. This example from Trulia in the US highlights this capability - allowing you to be very granular and definite in your search area for property, in this case, no more than 2 blocks from the beach offering just 7 properties that suit my specific requirements.
Another even better execution I found was by Homely - a new innovative start-up real estate website in Australia - far from being a multi-million dollar company, this small passionate design lead team have produced a lovely execution of "draw your own search area".